Welcome to the June 2009 Seniors Digest
Summer doesn't officially arrive for three more weeks, but this warm weather makes it seem like it is already here! We hope you have been able to get out and about to add some extra exercise to your daily routine. In this issue, we look at the value of activity, and an evidence-based fitness program developed by the Health Promotion Research Center at the UW that has been proven to improve the health of older adults.
EnhanceFitness participants at the Central Area Senior Center perform leg extensions. One of the original participants, 71-year-old Ernestine Robinson, now serves as an instructor for the program. See below to learn more about Ernestine.*
Evidence also shows more and more that socialization is absolutely vital to healthy aging. Read "Rx Friendship: Add More Socialization to Your Healthy Aging Prescription" to see how studies tie human contact to health in many ways.
Also in this issue…
- Orca is Here! Seven Puget Sound transit agencies have introduced a handy smart card to make public transportation easier.
- Moving Into an Assisted Living Community. The Mayor's Council on African-American Elders offers advice for choosing the right living situation for seniors.
- World Awareness Day Turns Spotlight on Elder Abuse. June 15 is the fourth Annual World Elder Abuse Day, and the Bellevue Network on Aging offers some important resources to help recognize and stop crimes against seniors.
- Save the Date for These Upcoming Events. Mark your calendar for community events for seniors, family caregivers and eldercare professionals.
- "Stop Those Germs" Wordfind. This month's puzzle is all about preventing disease—of special interest as we learn more about swine flu.
For More Information…
See "Links You Can Use" for local websites that can direct you to services for seniors. And check out SeniorsDigest.org, our national companion website, which includes the new, improved Online Information Center, where you will find resources and information about issues of interest to older adults and their families.
We hope you will refer to our electronic pages often—to obtain advice, to learn of new and exciting services, and to offer us your constructive feedback.
Read Seniors Digest and tell us what you think. We are here to help.
Cathy VonWald, Chair
Seattle-King County Advisory Council
on Aging and Disability Services
* More About Ernestine Robinson
Ernestine (at right, wearing blue hat) is an EnhanceFitness instructor at the Central Area Senior Center. She was one of the original participants in the program when it began as a research study through the University of Washington's Health Promotion Research Center. She was delighted to have been randomly selected to be a participant instead of in the control group. After the study was over, she became a certified instructor and has been teaching ever since.
Ernestine loves seeing the difference the program makes in people's daily lives, and she has story after story about how people have improved. One gentlemen said that for years he had been unable to look over his shoulder to look for other cars while driving because of neck pain. After participating in the program, he can now look over his shoulder easily and is much more confident about his driving. Another participant loves to watch her grandchildren play sports, but found it difficult to get up and down the bleachers. The "step over" exercise in the EnhanceFitness routine helped with her strength and balance, making the bleacher climbs much easier.
One of the most beneficial aspects of the program does not get as much attention—socialization. But Ernestine tells us that spending time with fellow participants is what keeps participants coming back. She says, "The social support network is wonderful as people tend to stay with the program for years after giving it a try." Participants encourage each other and are kind and welcoming to new people. The atmosphere is very warm and there is always lots of laughter. Asked what she would say to encourage someone to give the program a try, Ernestine tells us, "They'll never be sorry! Once they try the program, they will really enjoy it."
Read on to the next article to learn more about Project Enhance and other evidence-based health programs!